Don’t Tread On Me

What’s sharper than a serpent’s tooth?
And no, it’s not ungrateful youth.
I’m serious: Tell, if you can,
What’s literally sharper than
A serpent’s tooth? Can’t answer yet?
It’s venomous, plus also wet,
And travels with a real, live shark
Attached to it, and leaves a mark
That’s vaguely Y-shaped where it strikes
(A monogram that stands for “Yikes!”).
Give up? Well, as I learned today,
The answer is Haller’s Round Ray,
Or Urolophus halleri,
Named after some poor kid when he
Was barbed in San Diego Bay
Not far from where I swam today
Just south of PB’s Crystal Pier–
It’s beautiful; wish you were here!
But if you come, a tip from me:
Don’t walk like you’re on land, in sea,
But slide your feet from spot to spot.
I mostly do, but I forgot
This morning. Then the barb went in.
It won’t soon slip my mind again.
I caught some good waves anyway,
Then boiled my foot, so I’m okay.
But Lear should know: A child’s curse
May sting, but stingray barbs are worse.

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